Today’s News and Commentary — February 2, 2016
Uber drivers in New York have come together to oppose an announced fare cut. The New York Times reports that hundreds of Uber drivers gathered at the company’s New York City headquarters to protest recently-announced fare cuts, demanding a restoration of previous prices. Uber responded by claiming that, since there is less demand for Uber rides after the holidays, the reduced fares were necessary to encourage Uber use and thus they benefit drivers. Drivers suggested that the unilateral move by the company didn’t take them into account, and called for further concerted activity if Uber does not respond.
Workers at Yahoo are facing layoffs, and taking action in response. According to Reuters, Yahoo is set to announce that it is closing several business units and cutting 1,600 jobs (or 15 percent of the company’s workforce.) Meanwhile, a former Yahoo employee filed a federal lawsuit alleging that company managers manipulated the quarterly performance review system to fire hundreds of workers without just cause. The New York Times notes that the suit alleges violations of federal law and California law governing mass layoffs. If the firings are found to amount to an illegal mass layoff and not ostensible terminations for performance reasons, Yahoo “could be forced to pay each affected employee $500 a day plus back pay and benefits for each day of advance notice it failed to provide.”
Donald Trump may have some appeal to union members, but his campaign staff might have something to say about his treatment of workers. Vox reports that Elizabeth Davidson, a former staffer for the Trump campaign in Iowa, filed a gender discrimination charge with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission. Her complaint alleges her gender played a role in her termination, and that “the campaign’s full-time district representatives are all men, who planned and spoke at rallies while Davidson’s requests to do so were ignored.”
In other news, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “the United Steelworkers union said Monday that members who work at Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel ratified a new three-year contract that keeps wages at current levels and includes modest changes to health care coverage for workers and retirees.” Meanwhile, Michigan Radio reports that “Michigan union membership and representation rebounded significantly in 2015 after a sharp decline in 2014, according to federal statistics released this week.” And The Wall Street Journal notes that the American Bar Association is considering eliminating a rule that bans academic credit for paid employment of law students.